Walking into the courthouse late Thursday afternoon was a man wearing an “I survived Hurricane Bertha” T-shirt.
He could probably say the same about Hurricane Matthew — a storm Roy Hurst, of Jacksonville, said he wasn’t worried about.
“I didn’t buy any Vienna sausages this time,” he said, laughing.
And it didn’t look like he would need them — a forecast earlier in the week that had Hurricane Matthew making landfall along the North Carolina coast over the weekend had changed by Thursday to one that had the storm never coming ashore in the state.
As for plans, the potential hurricane didn’t ruin any for Hurst.
“I never plan for anything,” he said.
He was in the minority on that one, though.
Some Onslow County residents took to Facebook to vent their frustrations over canceled plans, including festivals, airplane flights and camping.
Others made memes and wondered if Steve Myers — Onslow County Schools’ chief operating officer who makes the system’s emergency delay or cancellation recordings — would call to cancel school on Friday.
Despite the on-the-street exasperation and humor, officials are still taking the storm seriously and planning for the just-in-case scenarios.
Nicole Coker, of Beulaville, isn’t taking any chances.
Due to medical conditions, Coker said she can’t afford to be in a house with no power. She’s headed west to ride out the storm and plans to stay there until everything is calm.
And power outages are still possible, according to Meteorologist Hal Austin at the National Weather Service in Morehead City. On the storm’s current path Onslow County could likely still see 35-to-45 mile-per-hour winds with wind gusts of 50-to-55 miles-per-hour along with plenty of rain.
The saturated ground coupled with strong winds will increase the potential for downed trees, which in turn increases the potential for power outages, he said.
“We could get as much as 10 inches or so of rain,” Austin said.
Onslow County could see effects of the storm late Saturday afternoon and throughout the day on Sunday, Austin said.
At the Jacksonville Police Department, Chief Mike Yaniero said all staff is on stand-by for emergencies.
“There is still uncertainty as to the final track Matthew will take,” Yaniero said. “It is important that we are prepared well in advance.”
Drivers need to be extra careful on washed out areas of the road over the weekend, said Sheriff Hans Miller. When there’s standing water, Miller said it’s difficult to tell if there’s anything supporting the asphalt and cars can sink.
“We want to get there and we want to get there in one piece,” Miller said.
Following the mentality of better safe than sorry, Surf City enacted a State of Emergency as of Thursday and a voluntary evacuation for the town beginning at 9 a.m. Friday, according to a release. Surf City Mayor A.D. Guy wrote in the release that the city’s website and social media pages will be updated throughout the storm.
Duplin County Schools will be releasing students two hours early Friday.
Onslow County’s Board of Commissioners will hold an emergency meeting at 1 p.m. Friday via conference call to consider adopting a State of Emergency in response to the storm.